Authors: Steven Kelman
May 1, 2004
Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard Kennedy School
The need for government organizations to change how they work is a major theme among practitioners and observers of government, discussed informally and repeated constantly at conferences for practitioners. The need for organizational change is also a preoccupying theme in the business world. But the impetus for change in government is somewhat different. In the private sector, the assumption is that the organization's current performance is good, but that shifts in the organization's environment demands changes in what the organization produces or how it produces it. In government, by contrast, the impetus for organizational change is typically that current performance isn't what it should be. Government isn't working as well as it should, and organizational change is needed to improve performance. This paper was produced as the result of a research competition open to faculty of the John F. Kennedy School of Government sponsored by the Ash Institute of Democratic Governance and Innovation.
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